Morning sports update: Alex Cora says Chris Sale gained some weight, ‘looks great’

Also: Marking Bill Russell's 85th birthday with a glimpse at some of his legendary Feb. 12 games.

Chris Sale pitching during the 2018 ALCS.

Northeastern won its second consecutive men’s Beanpot title on Monday night, defeating Boston College 4-2. In a departure from historical normalcy, Boston College and Boston University now collectively hold the longest men’s Beanpot droughts in the annual four-team competition.

Tonight, the Celtics face the 76ers in a high-profile regular season NBA matchup. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. The Bruins, meanwhile, host the Blackhawks at TD Garden at 7 p.m.

Alex Cora’s comments on Chris Sale: While Red Sox pitchers and catchers don’t officially report to spring training until tomorrow, several players are already there. This includes Boston ace Chris Sale. The 29-year-old lefty pitched only 29 innings in the second half of last season due to shoulder inflammation, though he returned in the postseason (clinching the final out in the victorious World Series).


One talking point for Sale was his weight. Red Sox manager Alex Cora said on Monday that he believes Sale has added weight as part of an offseason training regimen.

“Chris looks great. He has gained some weight,” Cora told reporters. “And he’s been throwing with no setbacks.”

“He was very aggressive with his offseason workouts,” Cora continued. “We’re very pleased with the way he went about it. All of them. It’s good to see him gaining weight and throwing the ball the way he’s been throwing the past few weeks. We’re very comfortable with him.”

Still, Sale’s appearance didn’t exactly seem like someone who had added offseason weight.

“I don’t know,” Cora joked. “That’s what people say: He gained weight. So I’ll go with that one. Tomorrow is their physical though.”

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Brad Stevens shoulders some of the blame: In a recent column, Celtics reporter Gary Washburn asserted that Boston coach Brad Stevens shouldn’t be given a pass on the team’s inconsistency. In a year when many predicted the Celtics would dominate the Eastern Conference, Boston has been stuck in neutral for much of the season.


“No longer can Stevens get a pass on locker room issues because he’s congenial or young or the master of allowing players to handle their own concerns,” wrote Washburn. “Managing a talented but, in some cases, inexperienced group of players has been more difficult than expected.” [The Boston Globe]

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Bill Russell celebrates his 85th birthday:

On this day: Speaking of Bill Russell, the Celtics center compiled some astounding numbers on his birthday during his remarkable career. In 1958, he totaled 41 rebounds in a win over the Syracuse Nationals on Feb. 12. And in 1961, his 19 points and 40 rebounds helped the Celtics down Wilt Chamberlain and the Philadelphia Warriors, 136-125. On his final birthday performance, in 1969, then player-coach Russell pulled down 30 rebounds in a 113-106 win over the Pistons.

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In 1994, the Winter Olympics opened in Lillehammer, Norway. Stein Gruben – who was called for the task only days before due to an injury to Ole Gunnar Fidjestol – took the Olympic torch off a ski jump as the world watched.

In 2000, Vince Carter was electric at the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

And in 2011, Wayne Rooney scored a bicycle kick for Manchester United in a 2-1 win over rivals Manchester City.

Daily highlight: Luka Doncic continues to do incredible things as a rookie.